The coronavirus pandemic is still with us.  Many states, including our own, are in the midst of measured reopening.  Oregon has hit a momentary pause due to a recent uptick of cases. Some say that the uptick is due to more testing and more people getting out and about.

My experience with pandemics

When I was a new dentist, the world was hit with a different new disease, the AIDS pandemic.  No one knew what that was.  There was a tremendous fear among the public and among healthcare providers because there was no information about the origin, spread, virulence, and treatments of HIV. At that time, dentists wore no masks or gloves.  Since we still did not know who had the disease or were carriers, we developed “universal precautions” to safely treat and care for our patients and prevent the spread of disease.  This has become the standard of care among healthcare providers that is still used today.  Learn and adapt were the ways we were able to move ahead from those dark days. Similarly, we will move ahead from this coronavirus.

Do not be paralyzed by fear. We will learn and adapt and move ahead confidently.  We will survive and come out stronger.  As Maya Angelou said, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.”

What can you do?

On May 28th, we passed 100,000 deaths in the US due to COVID-19. Today, two weeks later, the US has surpassed 117,000 deaths. We mourn each death as a loss of another person. Be mindful of what you can do to help to mitigate the spread of disease and the fear among our neighbors and community. Stay home if you are sick or have a fever. Wash your hands frequently. Wear a facial mask covering your nose and mouth when you are out where you will be near others. This is a responsible thing to do.

Supporting our community

While we are hopeful that current ramped-up scientific research will lead to an effective vaccine soon, (over 100 potential vaccines are undergoing testing) we must deal with the issues at hand, our current economic situation and our unemployed workers.

Thousands are still without their unemployment compensation, and hundreds of small businesses are not opening their doors now or ever again.

While I am encouraged about the recently announced special session to deal with law enforcement reform and COVID related issues, I am concerned that the Governor does not want to address urgent budget issues our state is facing.

Our state budget has a huge impact on the services we depend on: education, homelessness and shelter, public safety, and transportation.

And the longer we kick the can down the road and delay definitive planning, the worse the negative consequences will be. Getting our economy back on track can’t wait because thousands of working families can’t wait. They need hope.